Category Archives: News

A serious question, and lagniappe

What is a good literary or poetry magazine, in French, that publishes translations and that is not terribly hard to get into? One of my undergraduates has published translations to English in Alchemy (a translation journal for students) and Tripwire (a poetry journal, not just for students), and I know of many other places to submit translations to English.

I also know that Asymptote has a Spanish version somehow, and is looking for interns too (if you are interested, the best way to find out about that is probably on Facebook). But what about translations of Cristina Peri Rossi to French? This is for a different student. The only non-super-famous journal I have found that might publish translations of an Uruguayan poet is Nuit Blanche and I would like more options. Here are some of the journals and presses I have learned of in this quest: The Apostles Review, Hablar de poesía, Reflet de lettres. There are more.

Lagniappe for today includes a recreation of a Homeric performance, a new recording of ancient Babylonian songs, a very interesting interview with Zizek on “esa izquierda que ni siquiera desea ganar,” a response to Wendy Brown’s analysis of neoliberalism, an interview of Roberto Echavarren about poetry and identity, an interview of Enrique Dussel on Latin American culture and the future, an essay on language teaching and the foreign language requirement, David Sobrevilla’s piece on Moro, surrealism and homosexuality; the Institut français d’études andines, Bruno Bosteels’ new book on Marx and Freud in Latin America, writings of René Magritte, and a correspondence on surrealism between Adorno and a graduate student.

Also, I have found a new source of the kind of bed linen I want. I do not buy sheets or pillowcases by the set, but by the piece, as I do not have more cash than that. But I can tell you that really good bed linen lasts a very long time, and is less expensive than any other.

I have a burning question: what was I going to do with Agamben (in relation to Foucault and Vallejo) and where is that book chapter? This question is truly burning since I have given up other activism and committed to poetry, put poetry first, openly, for the first time.

Axé.

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Olodumare

Our luck has changed and the tide is turning, I can feel it. I have had this feeling once before that I can identify clearly–something was happening, I did not know what it was, but it was good, I knew–and I recognize it now.

Axé.

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La fin

It is as though we had been through a long war and it were finally over, and we had had losses but had won, were in a position to pick up our lives again. Perhaps we have been through a long war that is now over, have had losses but have won, and are in a position to pick up our lives again.

Here is Vargas Llosa on Moro:

Axé.

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Henrietta S. Kahn

hkahn

My great-great grandmother from Mitau. She was born in 1822, before the town was swallowed up by Riga. Latvia had been annexed to Russia in 1795. Here she is in the early to mid 1840s. She is with her first son Alexander, who died at 18 months. Her second son Alexander was born in St. Petersburg in 1847.

My great-aunt Valeska met this grandmother in Chicago about 1890. Valeska was tiny then, and it occurs to me that her cousins, of whom I always think as ancient people, would have been small children as well. When they were old, they talked together and did not have parents; small, I imagine them talking without parents as well, like the Peanuts characters.

Axé.

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Great-great-great-great

On an English side of my family is this great-great-great-great grandmother, born in Virginia in 1750. And the corresponding great-great-great-great grandfather, and a child. And me, of course. These ancestors had a daughter who married Francis Scott Key. He wrote the Star-Spangled Banner, and we know a great deal about that song, so this is not the nicest side of the family, of course.

Axé.

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A partial summary of discoveries

Most of what I know, was always known. All I have discovered is the Aizenman connection. My father’s aunt and uncle were grandchildren of the immigrant, Benjamin Matveevich. They had first cousins in Russia that they stayed in touch with throughout their lives. Benjamin and his wife Henrietta Khan were both born in Riga. He was ethnically German, although the family was originally Belgian. His dissertation director was Alexander von Humboldt and he corresponded with Marx. Riga was Russian, and Benjamin and Henrietta moved to St. Petersburg. They lived in Russia without being Russians themselves, but their children felt Russian.

Benjamin was to be deported to Siberia in 1862 due to the correspondence with Marx, but Henrietta had a friend at court who was able to intervene. Banned from Russia, they went to Zurich and then the US, arriving in 1865. Some of their children, including William Veniaminovich and Alexander Veniaminovich, returned to Russia in 1877. My great-grandfather, Emil Veniaminovich, did not. Alexander’s children, born in Russia from 1879 forward, were my grandfather’s first cousins. My grandfather and his brother and sister were close to them, and I corresponded with one of Alexander’s daughters, Lidia, until she died in 1987. Alexander became a prominent person in Russia and is a historical figure of some interest.

My friend Nicky recently did an Internet search in Russian for Alexander. Alexander is on Wikipedia and people blog about him, as he is a piece of history (he was a friend of Tolstoi, Pasternak; children are later friends of Akhmatova; you can see that they are cultured as well as technologically advanced). There are even people who have designed walking tours of Moscow around him. You can see the old factory, the office, the house, and some important structures (railway stations, the Pushkin Museum, towers) that he and his partner Vladimir Shukhov (a truly major figure, Lenin Prize 1929) built.

It is by following the links in these sites on Alexander that I discovered the art of his daughter Olga and of her son Alexei. Her husband was a professor at Moscow State until the Revolution. Her daughter Tatiana was a folk art critic, and her granddaughter Anna is a sculptor working now. Here we have a long article with news of these cousins we did not know. Those living in cities occupied by the Germans wore yellow stars and were shot. Those living now are friends with me on Facebook.

Axé.

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A very strange nightmare

Were I a surrealist painter I would paint several versions of this dream. Vallejo would write a difficult, but not surrealist poem about it. I wish I had Freud or Jung to study it. In it, I was visiting at a huge house, large enough to be a castle. My room had a huge waterbed  and my cat who died in 2000 would jump up on me while I slept. Soon hands would reach up from under the bed to pet her. I decided that these were the hands of the friendly dead and I was not afraid, but I was concerned because there was no cat food (I was envisioning Science Diet) in the kitchen cupboard. You got to the restaurant-style kitchen through long corridors. The first day I kept writing my paper (I was on a writing retreat) and cooked in the kitchen but on subsequent days I would look for the kitchen but not find it, and instead kept finding parts of the castle that were for non-residents: supermarkets, delicatessens, restaurants, but no kitchen and no place that sold Science Diet.Then I was sleeping again and the hands that came to pet the cat also started holding my head to the pillow. Now it was harder to get up and look for food for the cat, who was getting thinner. I realized I had gone to New Orleans for the weekend recently and made no provisions for the cat, and was shocked. This caused me to wrest my head away from the hands of the dead and get up in real life to go into the kitchen and look for Science Diet. There I realized that this cat has been dead for 16 years. “I believe I have visited the land of the dead in this dream,” I said. “Of all my dreams, this is the one appearing to come from the deepest levels of the unconscious. What caused it?” “If dreams communicate, who is trying to communicate with me?” Finally I thought, “It is a dream about the prisoners on death row at Angola.” But what does it sound like, and what methods can be used to interpret it?

Axé.

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